Wondering how to rent a car in Sardinia? If so then you have come to the right place. You have also made the right choice since Sardinia is a great place to rent a car in Italy.
I mean, this incredible Italian island in the Mediterranean Sea is brimming over with crystal blue water, sandy beaches, and is filled with countless mountains that are perfect for hiking.
Additionally, hiring a car in Sardinia is a great way to see all of the nuraghi (aka crazy Bronze Age stones that resemble beehives).
Yeah, getting a car rental in Sardinia is really the only way to get off the beaten path and explore all that this amazing island has to offer.
In fact, the only time renting a car in Sardinia is NOT a good idea is if you’re only here for a weekend or really just plan to stay in one location during your trip.
Personally, I have visited this gorgeous island a couple of times and rented a car in Sardinia once. The other time I didn’t and still had a fun time.
So, ultimately whether you rent a car in Sardinia or not really depends on the type of trip you’re planning.
Now, let’s dive into this mega-comprehensive guide. I want to share my insider tips on why you should rent a car in Sardinia, talk about driving in Sardinia, and explain where to rent a car in Sardinia.
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But first…Why Should You Hire a Car in Sardinia? Or, Why Should You Rent a Car in Sardinia?
I’m gonna be real with you. If you’re planning a road trip to the stunning island of Sardinia, then renting a car is a game-changer.
With the freedom and flexibility to go wherever your heart desires, you can uncover true hidden gems, breathtaking beaches, and incredible scenery that makes Sardinia famous.
Additionally, renting a car in Sardinia is really the only way to discover picturesque villages and enjoy the idyllic countryside. Plus, driving in Sardinia is just a heck of a lot of fun.
So, if you rent a car in Sardinia you’ll be able to reach remote beaches, explore charming towns, and venture into the rugged interior where public transportation might is not accessible.
I mean, don’t get me wrong. Sardinia has public transportation. However, trains only connect major cities and really don’t go into small villages.
Additionally, the bus can take you to some remote places but it isn’t always on time and there are typically just a few departures daily.
So, renting a car in Sardinia just makes for a better, less stressful trip – especially when you book your rental car in Sardinia with Discover Cars.
Yeah, you can literally reach any and every corner of the island that you want if you get a rental car in Sardinia. In fact, a rental car is especially useful if you want to go hiking in the mountains.
Renting a Car in Sardinia with Discover Cars
When it comes to choosing the right car rental agency in Sardinia, my top recommendation is always Discover Cars.
Their service has always been super reliable and efficient during my many trips to Italy.
I also love that they offer a comprehensive comparison of rental prices from hundreds of car agencies in Sardinia, ensuring that you secure the best deal possible.
Even better, they offer free cancellation up to 48 hours before your pickup, providing you with greater flexibility.
Trust me, I’ve had my share of not-so-great car rental experiences in Italy (feel free to read about the horror of renting a car in Tuscany before Discover Cars), and since finding Discover Cars, I’ve never looked back.
In fact, over 130,000 people have given them a 4.6 rating on Trustpilot. So, it’s not just me singing their praises!
Now, let’s dive into the process of booking a rental car in Sardinia with Discover Cars.
How to Book Your Car Rental in Puglia Online with Discover Cars
By using the fantastic online platform that is Discover Cars, you can quickly and easily secure yourself a quality car rental in Sardinia in minutes.
Simply input your travel dates along with your pick-up and drop-off locations (if they differ). Then, as you sift through the various Sardinia car rental agencies, take note of their ratings.
To ensure quality service, steer clear of renting a car in Sardinia with any company rated less than 8.0 out of 10.0.
While it may be tempting to opt for the least expensive, remember the age-old adage, “You get what you pay for.”
In my experience, the extraordinarily cheap Sardinia car rental agencies often provide subpar car rental services in Puglia and lack satisfactory customer service.
Pro Tip: Be mindful of the day and time when you pick up and drop off your rental car.
Picking up or dropping off your vehicle outside regular business hours may result in an additional fee (in my case, it was $15.00).
Choose Full Coverage with Discover Cars
Accidents happen, and often when you least expect them.
So, imagine this: you’re driving along the scenic backroads of Sardinia, and suddenly, you hit a car in front of you or worse, a goat standing in the middle of the road (the latter almost happened to me).
Instances like these underline the importance of opting for full coverage when renting a car with Discover Cars.
As a matter of fact, 85% of the people who rent cars with Discover Cars choose full coverage.
With full coverage, you can enjoy your holiday without worrying about potential expenses related to dents, scratches, vehicle repairs, flat tires, broken windows, and lost keys.
The best part? Full coverage is surprisingly affordable, costing just $6.58 per day during my last visit to Sardinia.
Plus, Discover Cars’ coverage is extremely comprehensive and covers up to $3300 worth of damage.
So, to save yourself from potential headaches and unexpected fees, it’s well worth choosing full coverage when renting a car in Sardinia.
What Is and Is Not Covered by Discover Cars?
When it comes to car insurance, Discover Cars offers one of the most comprehensive policies on the market.
So, it’s no surprise that 94% of customers report being satisfied by their full coverage.
After all, the exhaustive list of things covered under their policy includes the car exterior with no exclusions, the roof, refundable theft deductible, mirrors, the windshield, windows, tires/wheels, the undercarriage, lost keys/lockout fees, taxi fees, administrative fees, and even loss of use during repairs.
However, as comprehensive as their policy may be, there are certain items not covered by Discover Cars.
These exclusions typically include interior damage and cleaning fees.
An important caveat to note is that any damages incurred when you do not adhere to the terms of your rental agreement will not be covered by their policy.
Likewise, damage from uncontrollable or unforeseeable events is not included in the coverage.
Do Car Rental Companies in Sardinia Accept This Policy?
When it comes to renting a car in Sardinia, insurance is a crucial aspect that you cannot afford to overlook.
By law, car rental companies in Sardinia require drivers to have insurance.
In my personal experience with car rentals in Sardinia, I’ve found that companies were more than willing to honor Full Coverage Insurance with Discover Cars.
Usually, you might have to pay a deductible to the local rental company upfront. This deposit, however, is typically returned once they’ve assessed the car and found no damages, tickets, or fines.
If the car is returned with damage, the repair costs will be deducted from your deposit.
The good news is that you can get reimbursed for these costs by filing a claim with Discover Cars.
They typically process claims within 48 hours, covering up to around $3300 worth of damage with their policies.
While this is a significant amount, it’s worth noting that it might not cover the total cost of the car if it’s severely damaged or totaled.
Filing a Claim with Discover Cars
If you encounter any issues during your rental period, Discover Cars has a straightforward process for filing a claim.
Simply use the login credentials you received in your confirmation email and log in to their app or website.
Once logged in, submit the required information and wait for the claim to be processed, which usually takes around 48 hours.
Now, while you have the option to choose insurance from a local company, bear in mind that the cost can range from $24 to $55 in Italy, which may vary depending on the company and the coverage they offer.
Another viable option is to rent a car in Sardinia from Discover Cars and choose insurance from a local company.
This way, you can enjoy a competitively priced car rental from Discover Cars and also benefit from their no-fee cancellation policy, offering you flexibility and peace of mind during your trip.
Disclaimer Before Renting a Car in Puglia
Please note that the information provided in this guide to renting a car in Sardinia is based on personal experiences and is not intended as a definitive guide to car rentals in Sardinia.
I have had positive experiences with Discover Cars, a company I’ve chosen for car rentals in Sardinia on several occasions.
However, my experience should not be taken as the only outcome and I have no control. In fact, your experience may differ significantly from mine, and this is a circumstance beyond my control.
So, for more detailed, personalized information, I recommend reaching out to the professionals at Discover Cars, who can answer any questions you may have about the car rental process in Sardinia.
Where to Rent a Car in Sardinia
When it comes to car rental companies, I recommend Discover Cars since they offer a wide range of vehicles, competitive prices, and convenient pickup and drop-off locations throughout Sardinia.
So, if you decide to rent a car with them, you can pick up your rental car from a variety of locations like Cagliari Elmas Airport, Alghero Fertilia Airport, and Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport.
Yeah, I find it MUCH easier to pick up a rental car in Sardinia at the airport. This way you don’t have to worry about driving through the chaos of the city.
Pro Tip: Always be aware of one-way fees when you rent a car in Sardinia. This is a fee of between $100 and $300 (usually) that you will incur if you pick up and drop off your car in two different locations.
Places to Bring Your Rental Car in Sardinia
If you’re planning a road trip in Sardinia then I’ll be the first one to tell you that literally every corner of Sardinia is worth exploring with your rental car.
However, some of my faves places to bring a rental car in Sardinia include
- Alghero – Known for its stunning beaches and Catalan heritage.
- Giara Plateau – You can see Giara horses and the Barumini Nuraghe Complex which is home to one of the most well-preserved nuraghe on the island.
- Santa Maria Navarrese – This spot is home to some of the best beaches on the island
- Orgosolo – A cool town with some incredible murals.
- Argiolas Winemakers’ Shop – You can visit on a day trip from Cagliari and enjoy some of the best wine on the island. Just be sure to make a reservation in advance.
- Bosa – This vibrant and historic city is a great place to see the ruins of Malaspina Castle, walk along the river, and bask in the sun at Cani Malu
- San Pietro Island – Take the ferry here and do a bit of snorkeling before exploring Le Colonne and La Conca Cove.
- Gulf of Orosei – You can do an incredible boat trip to some of the epic coves in the area.
How to Rent a Car in Sardinia FAQs
Is It Worth Renting a Car in Sardinia?
Renting a car in Sardinia is worth it if you value freedom, convenience, and the ability to explore the island at your own pace.
With a car, you can get off the beaten path and discover local treasures that are inaccessible by public transportation.
The only time renting a car is NOT worth it is if you can only be here for a weekend or are just planning on staying in a major city like Cagliari.
Is it Expensive to Rent a Car in Sardinia?
No, it doesn’t have to be expensive to rent a car in Sardinia. The last time I was there I rented a car in November and it cost me $20 per day for an economy car with Discover Cars.
However, Car rental prices in Sardinia can vary depending on the season and the type of vehicle you choose (FYI expect to pay somewhere between $20 and $50 per day).
But, with a wide range of options available, you can find affordable deals that suit your budget. Booking in advance and comparing prices will help you secure the best rates.
How Far in Advance Do You Need to Rent a Car in Sardinia?
To secure the best rates and ensure availability, it’s advisable to book your rental car in advance, especially during peak travel seasons.
FYI, peak travel season in Sardinia is in June, July, August, and the first half of September. So, booking a few months in advance is recommended, especially at this time of year.
Or, just consider making a reservation for renting a car in Sardinia as soon as you have your flights booked.
What is the Most Popular Type of Car to Rent in Sardinia?
In Sardinia, compact cars and SUVs are popular choices due to their versatility and ability to navigate both city streets and rugged terrains.
So, if rent a car in Sardinia and plan to visit cities with narrow streets and tight parking spaces then get a small car.
But, if you want to visit the mountains then renting an SUV that can get up those windy, steep roads is a must.
What Do You Need to Rent a Car in Sardinia?
To rent a car in Sardinia, you’ll need a valid driver’s license from your home country, a passport, a credit card for the deposit (with driver’s name for ID purposes), and to meet any minimum age requirements (usually 21).
Yeah, some car agencies may charge you an additional “young driver’s fee” if you are under the age of 25. However, Discover Cars will never do that.
Anyway, if you are not a resident of the EU then you will also need to get an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) before your trip.
This is super easy to do and you can just get one from AAA before your trip to get one. Yeah, I did it and I was surprised by how easy the process was.
Lastly, you’ll need proof of insurance since a Collision Damage Waiver and Theft Protection are both necessary to rent a car in Italy.
Thankfully, though, Discover Car’s Full Coverage plan is MEGA comprehensive so this should not be a problem if you decide to book your Sardinia rental car with them.
Is Driving in Sardinia Difficult?
No, driving a car in Sardinia is not super difficult. In fact, I found driving in Sardinia to be really fun.
It’s just important to go slow since the island is home to narrow/windy roads (some of which are unmarked in rural areas) that often look like they are one-way but are really two-way streets.
Additionally, there are many curves on the island, as well as livestock (sheep, goats, cows, etc.) that tend to wander into the road. So, go slowly and you should be just fine.
Pro Tip: Try to avoid driving in cities since the roads are narrow, parking is limited, and parking spaces are super tight.
I liked to park my rental car in Sardinia outside the city and then just use public transportation to get into the city center.
Are the Roads Safe to Drive in Sardinia?
While the roads in Sardinia are generally safe and in good condition, it’s important to drive carefully.
Be mindful of changing weather conditions, especially during rain after a long period of dry weather since roads can become very slippery.
Also be sure to abide by speed limits, wear seat belts, and avoid using mobile phones while driving.
How Long Does It Take to Drive Around Sardinia?
On average it will take you 2 hours to drive from Cagliari in the south to Olbia in the north. It will also take you under 2 hours to drive across the island from the east to the west.
Now, to drive around the perimeter of the island, it will take you maybe 12 hours. But, I would do this in a week so that you can stop and enjoy the awesome natural beauty of the island.
Tips on How to Rent A Car in Sardinia
Have All the Necessary Documents
When renting a car in Sardinia, staying organized is key. So, be sure to have all your necessary documents to avoid potential complications.
These documents typically include a valid driver’s license (from your home country), a passport, a credit card (with the driver’s name on it), proof of insurance, and any additional paperwork required by your rental company.
You’ll also need an International Driver’s Permit if you plan to drive in Sardinia and are from a country outside of the European Union.
Inspect Your Car Before Driving Off
When you pick up your rental car in Sardinia, it’s important to take time to inspect it before driving away.
Check the car for existing damages, such as scratches, dents, or interior damages. Also make sure to test the car’s features which include lights, wipers, brakes, windows, air conditioning, etc.
This is super important because don’t want to be held liable for any damages that were present before you rented the car.
If you notice anything, report it immediately to the rental company and ensure they’re noted in your rental agreement.
Personally, I take photos and videos of the exterior and interior of the car before I leave the rental agency in Sardinia.
This way I have full documentation of any damages and can ensure I won’t have to pay for it later.
Don’t Always Trust Your GPS and Have Some Paper Maps Handy
We’ve all been there – faithfully following our GPS to the ends of the Earth, only to realize it’s leading us not to a picturesque beach, but straight into a field of sheep!
In Sardinia, your GPS is your friend – but it’s a friend who occasionally gets a bit confused.
After all, the roads here are a mixture of hairpin turns, stunning scenic routes, and paths that look more like goat trails than actual streets.
Plus, don’t even get started on the signs – or lack thereof! So, your trusty Google Maps or other GPS services can sometimes lead you on a wild goose chase toward a road that exists only in cyberspace.
So by all means, let your GPS be your guide, but take its advice with a pinch of salt. Don’t freak out if you end up on an unexpected detour—consider it an adventure!
Just be sure to have a paper map handy so that when things go wrong or you don’t have a signal, you’ll still be able to make it to your final destination.
Respect Local Driving Laws
Driving in Sardinia (or anywhere, for that matter) isn’t just about the thrill of the open road. It’s also about following the rules.
So, keep an eye out for road signs since cities in Sardinia are notorious for switching them around, Do this and you can avoid a dreaded ‘fine surprise’ when you return your rental car.
Also, slow it down there, speed racer! Remember, the land of gorgeous beaches and sunshine has speed limits and speed cameras (commonly known as ‘autovelox’).
Be on the lookout for them so that your happy holiday memories aren’t destroyed by an unexpected ticket.
Finally, let’s talk about parking. The last thing you want is to return to your rental car, gelato in hand, only to find that it’s been towed away!
So, always check for parking-specific signs on doors and gates, and shell out for that pay-and-display parking if needed.
Because, let’s face it, no one wants to spend their vacation tracking down a towed car, am I right? Of course, I am.
Pro Tip: Generally, the speed limit on highways in Sardinia is 130 km/h, while the limit is 110 km/h on secondary roads. Finally, the speed limit is 50 km/h on all other roads unless indicated.
No Drinking and Driving
I cannot stress this enough: Do. Not. Drink. And. Drive. You heard me right, not even a tiny, teensy-weensy sip of that DELISH Sardinian wine.
Yeah, Italian law is pretty strict when it comes to drinking and driving, just like the rest of the European Union. So, don’t be fooled by the relaxed Mediterranean island vibes!
Because the breathalyzers here are no joke—they can sniff out anything over 0.5% alcohol (driving with a BAC of over 0.5% is illegal in Italy) in your bloodstream.
So, even one small beer before you drive could get you in serious trouble.
Fill Your Sardinia Car Rental Up Before You Return It
Here’s the thing: Most rental companies can be sneaky when it comes to refueling. They’ll charge you a premium if they have to do it themselves. I mean, I get it, it’s a bit of a pain, but come on!
Now, we don’t want you to fill your car rental in Sardinia with way more fuel than you need. But they will, charge you if you return your car with less fuel than it had when you started your trip.
So, avoid this whole mess and just fill up the tank before returning your car. It’s that simple.
Pro Tip: Make sure you have photos of the fuel gauge when you first drive off and when you finish your road trip in Sardinia. This way, you’re covered in case they try to charge you for fuel.
Tips for Driving in Sardinia with a Rental Car
Drive with Confidence When Renting a Car in Sardinia
When renting a car in Sardinia, always drive with confidence! Now, I’m not saying morph into a Hollywood stunt driver or pull off moves that would make a Formula 1 racer blush. Nope.
Your driving should be assertive, not aggressive. Hesitate too much, and the drivers in Sardinia might think you’re waving them on, and you’ll be stuck standing still.
Additionally, make your intentions known by using those indicators as you position yourself correctly on the road.
Fold In Your Mirrors When You Park Your Rental Car in Sardinia
If you’ve ever strolled down an Italian street, you know that they can be as tiny as a supermodel after a juice cleanse. So, when you’re parking your car, remember to tuck in those side mirrors.
It’s a tiny step, but trust me, it’ll save you a whole lot of mirror-related heartache when you try and return your rental car later.
Watch Out for ZTLs!
A ZTL is a Restricted Traffic Zone, or a “Zona A Traffico Limitato” in Italian and they can be found in places like Alghero, Cagliari, Nuoro, Pula, or Sassari.
I know it may sound like something out of a sci-fi movie but it’s basically an area in the center of an Italian city, or village, where traffic is restricted.
Now, if you drive here without the proper credentials (like local passes or emergency vehicle status), you’ll be slapped with a hefty fine faster than you can say “Mamma Mia!”
Yeah, these zones are in place to keep the historical center of cities as calm and tranquil as possible. So if you accidentally roll into one, you pay anywhere between 50 to 80 Euros, depending on the city.
To avoid these fines, park on the outskirts of the city and then use a bus or taxi to get into the city center.
Be Weary of Local Road Signs Which Are Not Always Accurate
Alright, friends, let’s talk signage. Because in Sardinia, road signs are not always reliable.
In fact, you might find yourself scratching your head at local crossroads, wondering why the sign seems to be having an existential crisis.
Trust me, it happens. These signs are also notorious for taking you on a super convoluted route that makes zero sense.
Therefore, always be sure to have a GPS device and a paper map at your disposal when driving in Sardinia.
Keep Your Distance From Other Cars
In Sardinia, drivers have a tendency to focus on the here and now—what’s in front of them—rather than checking out the situation in the rear-view mirror.
And, turn signals? Well, they treat those like they’re optional, kind of like rainbow sprinkles on a sundae. Therefore, the Fiat ahead of you could totallly turn left without any indication.
So, If you’re riding their bumper, you could get into a major accident. Therefore, leave plenty of space between you and any other cars on the road.
This way you’ll have the space and time to react quickly and safely to anything that happens unexpected on the road—like a surprise turn, a sudden stop, or even a rogue goat crossing the street (this is Sardinia, after all!).
Pro Tip: Sardinian drivers are also impatient AF. So, if they want to pass you then just let them.
Know About Parking in Sardinia
In larger towns and at famous beaches, you might have to pay around 0.50 euros an hour for parking between 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, and then again between 4:00 pm and 8:00 pm.
But, the good news is that Sundays and public holidays mean free parking.
Now, let’s talk parking lines. Blue lines on the road mean you have to pay to park (at a local meter), or adhere to local time restrictions that are clearly posted on local signs.
No lines, no sign, no problem! Then you can assume the parking is free and do a little happy dance to celebrate this small win.
Pro Tip: Some parking areas require that you use a timing disk and display the time you arrived on your dashboard.
However, rental cars in Sardinia usually come with them. Otherwise, you can pick one up from the local tobacconist.